Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: We are currently updating information following recent Queensland and Australian Government announcements. Find assistance and support for coronavirus affected businesses and industries.


Scientific name

Intsia bijuga (formerly Afzelia bijuga syn. Afzelia australis), I. palembanica. Family: Leguminosae

Other names

Johnstone River teak; Scrub mahogany (North Queensland); Merbau (Malaysia); Vesi (Fiji); Moluccan ironwood (United Kingdom); Go-nux (Vietnam); Ipil (Philippines); Hintzy (Madagascar); Melila, Bendora (Papua New Guinea); Lumpho, Lum-paw, makamong (Thailand); Kivoli, Vuvula (Solomon Islands)


  • Large hardwood tree
  • Grows to 40m high
  • Trunk is 0.6m diameter
  • Often a bushy tree forming a spreading canopy


  • Johnstone River and Daintree areas of North Queensland
  • Malaysia
  • Fiji
  • Vietnam
  • Philippines
  • Madagascar
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Thailand
  • Solomon Islands
  • New Caledonia
  • Vanuatu
  • Samoa



  • Heartwood yellowish-brown or orange-brown when first cut, turning darker with age to brown or deep reddish-brown
  • Sapwood white, pale yellow or buff and sharply distinct from heartwood


  • Grain varies but usually interlocked or wavy.
  • Texture is coarse but even.
  • Attractive figure (pattern) on back-sawn material.



  • Cross arms
  • Bridge building
  • Piles
  • Sleepers
  • Posts
  • Wharfing
  • Mining timbers


  • Framing
  • Decking
  • Treads
  • General construction


  • Quality furniture, outdoor furniture
  • Turnery, parquetry


  • Boat building (especially for decking)
  • Vats
  • Musical instruments
  • Tool handles


  • Density: 830kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; about 1.2m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne.
  • Strength groups: S2 unseasoned, SD3 seasoned.
  • Stress grades: F11, F14, F17, F22 (unseasoned), F14, F17, F22, F27 (seasoned) when visually stress-graded according to AS 2082—2000: Timber—Hardwood—Visually stress-graded for structural purposes.
  • Joint groups: J3 unseasoned; JD2 seasoned.
  • Shrinkage to 12% MC: 2.6% (tangential), 1.2% (radial).
  • Unit shrinkage: 0.30 % (tangential) 0.19 % (radial)—these values apply to timber reconditioned after seasoning.
  • Durability above-ground: Class 1 (life expectancy more than 40 years).
  • Durability in-ground: Class 3 (life expectancy 5–15 years).
  • Lyctine susceptibility: untreated sapwood susceptible to lyctid borer attack.
  • Termite resistance: resistant.
  • Preservation: sapwood readily impregnates with preservative.
  • Seasoning: seasons well with kiln or air-drying, with little degrade and very little shrinkage or movement.
  • Hardness: hard (rated 2 on a 6-class scale) to indent and work with hand tools.
  • Machining: working properties vary; cuts cleanly but may blunt or gum cutting edges; cutting angle should be reduced to 20° when planing quarter-sawn stock; turns well.
  • Fixing: can split unless pre-bored, but holds fastenings well.
  • Gluing: glues satisfactorily except with casein glues.
  • Finishing: paints, stains and polishes well, but gum bleed-through or oily patches may affect the finish.

Identification features

General characteristics

  • Sapwood: sharply distinct from the heartwood
  • Heartwood: dark red-brown or yellow-brown
  • Texture: coarse and even; grain often interlocked

Wood structure

  • Vessels: moderately large, visible to naked eye; short radial pairs or multiples and solitary cells; often visible sulphur yellow and dark-coloured deposits; vessel lines prominent on longitudinal surfaces

Research and resources

  • Boland, DJ, Brooker, MIH, Chippendale, GM, Hall, N, Hyland, BPM, Johnston, RD, Kleinig, DA and Turner, JD 2006, Forest trees of Australia, 5th ed., CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
  • Bootle, K 2005, Wood in Australia: Types, properties and uses, 2nd ed., McGraw-Hill, Sydney.
  • Ilic, J 1991, CSIRO atlas of hardwoods, Crawford House Press, Bathurst, Australia.
  • Queensland Government, DAF 2018, Construction timbers in Queensland: properties and specifications for satisfactory performance of construction timbers in Queensland. Class 1 and Class 10 buildings, Books 1 & 2, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  • Standards Australia, 2000, AS 2082—2000: Timber—Hardwood—Visually stress-graded for structural purposes, Standards Australia International, Strathfield, NSW.